Pet Scoop: Entangled Dolphin Mom Saved in Florida, Elephant Appears in Photobomb

Jan. 29, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

A team of rescuers helped free and mother dolphin who was caught in fishing gear in Florida.
A team of rescuers helped free and mother dolphin who was caught in fishing gear in Florida.

Biologists Come to Dolphin’s Rescue

A dolphin mother is off and swimming with her calf after getting some help from rescuers on Monday. A team including biologists from SeaWorld Orlando, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, NOAA and several other agencies helped disentangle trap pot fishing gear from around the dolphin mom’s body and one of her flippers in the Indian River Lagoon near Vero Beach, Fla. The team had temporarily captured the calf while its mom was being helped so that they wouldn’t become separated. The mom and baby were then evaluated by the team and released safely back into the wild. — See photos from SeaWorld and watch video from Florida’s CBS News 12

‘Zombie’ Bees Discovered in New England

Bees have been facing a lot of threats, and among the latest is the “zombie” bee phenomenon. Zombie bees were first found in the U.S. in 2008, and have moved from West to East across the country. In October, a Burlington, Vt., beekeeper discovered them in his hive, marking the first time they’d been seen in the Eastern U.S. These bees have been injected with the eggs of a fly called Apocephalus borealis. The eggs grow inside the bee, and scientists believe this causes neurological damage that results in jerky movement and night activity, like that of a zombie, said John Hafernik, a professor from San Francisco State University who was the first to spot them in the U.S. But zombie bees don’t roam forever — they die just a few hours after showing symptoms. Experts aren’t yet sure how widespread the zombie bees might be in the East. — Read it from the AP via ABC News

Rare Micronesian Kingfisher Hatches

The chick, which hatched on Jan. 1, is the offspring of an 8-year-old father and a 2-year-old mother at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia. The critically endangered bird — the rarest species in SCBI’s collection — brings the total population of Micronesian kingfishers to just 129. The species is extinct in the wild. The birds are extremely difficult to breed because of incompatibility between the males and females, says the SCBI, which is affiliated with the National Zoo. The parents are then often unable to successfully raise their own chicks, so this chick is being hand-reared by animal care staff. It’s fed seven to eight times a day, at 2-hour intervals. The species was devastated by the arrival of the brown tree snake, an invasive species, on their native island of Guam. — See photos from the National Zoo on Flickr

Jill, 3, is among the top kitty contenders picked by Battersea Dogs & Cats Home to help the British Parliament.
Jill, 3, is among the top kitty contenders picked by Battersea Dogs & Cats Home to help the British Parliament.

Shelter Cats Could Help U.K. Parliament

With London’s Palace of Westminster — home to Britain’s Parliament — facing a growing problem with mice, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home says it’s ready to help. Several members of Parliament have called for a rescue cat to rescue their offices from the pervasive rodent problem. The U.K.’s oldest pet rescue, which found Larry the cat a home with the prime minister at 10 Downing Street in 2011, has drawn up a list of its top mousers for Westminster. Among them are Jill, a 3-year-old black cat who would move through the corridors of Westminster “like a shadow in the night,” Finn, a 4-year-old “confident boy who will pounce on anything that moves” and Bloom, a 1-year-old who’s been “sharpening her claws on global economic policies ready to show just how it’s done.” — Read it at Paw Nation

Elephant Photobombs Tourist Group

A photo of an elephant sneaking up on five women at the Imire Rhino and Wildlife Conservation in Zimbabwe has gone viral. But how could you not notice a massive animal standing right behind you? One reason could be that pachyderms have “big, cushiony feet” that allow them to tread remarkably softly, Craig R. Sholley of the African Wildlife Foundation told National Geographic. “If they don’t want to be heard, just like a human being, they will attempt to be silent — and they’re pretty adept at that,” Sholley said. He also explained that this particular elephant was likely accustomed to being around people and was just curious about what they were doing. — See photo at National Geographic

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